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#DiversityInFilm

The 24th Queer Film Festival bucks the #OscarsSoWhite trend with a challenging and diverse lineup
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, James Ransone and Mya Taylor in Tangerine
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, James Ransone and Mya Taylor in Tangerine

From a documentary on the emerging queer hip-hop movement to the avant-garde Blue, the 1993 experimental film from Derek Jarman released just months before his death from AIDS complications, the 24th annual Eugene Queer Film Festival offers an array of films expressing the dynamic and diverse queer experience. 

The fest, which runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 4-6, will screen international submissions, art films and queer classics.

Hallie Frost, student coordinator for the University of Oregon’s Cultural Forum, which sponsors the Eugene Queer Film Festival, says the three-day lineup was intentionally designed to celebrate both the tradition and future of queer film, highlighting “issues of equality and representation but also honoring a radical use of cinema and cinematic tradition.”

Thus, the festival on the first night will exhibit a number of domestic and international short films, with a headlining full-length documentary — The Gospel According to Charlie — about gay artist Charlie Van Ness, his aesthetic and personal transformations and the role of art in identity. 

On Friday, a quartet of art films will be presented, including Blue, Putting On Face, Longing and Edyn in Exile. The festival concludes on Saturday with a queer classics marathon, showcasing The Dallas Buyer’s Club, Tangerine and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. 

The aims and ambition of the festival, Frost says, are two-fold: aestheticism and representation. “The film medium was a huge point of expression for the queer community in the ’70s and ’80s,” she explains. “It was a marginalized group trying to express themselves and honor their culture and what it turned into was an amazing aesthetic movement.” 

Noting the lack of representation in this year’s Oscar nominees, Frost turns to the inclusivity and innovation of Tangerine as an example of the future of film. Featuring a transgendered cast and shot completely with iPhones, Tangerine reveals a desire for progress in both content and style.

 “Not just big houses in Hollywood will be making these films anymore,” Frost says. “Any time you un-monopolize an industry, you have people who have been marginalized for decades who can finally have their work shown and exhibited.”

This year, The Wayward Lamb will host the film festival. John O’Malley, the pub’s event producer and marketing manager, explains how the space, specifically The Den in back (which will be open to all-ages for the festival), became an ideal venue. 

“For us it’s about doing what we do every day, which is providing an inclusive space for the community,” O’Malley says. “What I found is that the queer community here, while they love dancing and they love drag queens, they also love a million other things.”

O’Malley continues: “I think what people are most hungry for is diversity, whether it’s among themselves or in the programming they’re going to.”

For more information on the Eugene Queer Film Festival, including lineup and ticketing, visit qffuoregon.edu.